ISLAMABAD – The government has invested Rs. 1830 million to promote the marble and granite sector and enhance its exports.

As part of its measures, 14 mechanized quarry projects have been initiated in the country to demonstrate the use of the latest quarrying techniques and impart training to locals on the use of quarrying techniques and technology.

Sources at Industries and Production Division on Sunday said after development of quarries on modern lines, the production capacity and quality of product will increase manifold.

The sources said two machinery pools had been established in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) respectively to provide latest quarrying machinery on rental basis to quarry owners.

So far more than 50 quarry owners have been facilitated through this service.

The sources said that to attract investors and foster industrialization, dedicated marble cities had been established with state-of-art infrastructure and in this regard Marble City Risalpur was near completion. Another marble city is also being developed in FATA, with Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) acting as Management Consultant for the project.

Regarding skill development, PASDEC has provided training to more than 600 quarry operators, mining engineers and geologists on use of latest quarry machinery and techniques.

In addition, 1262 trainings have been provided to females on mosaic, inlay and handicraft making for value addition and proper use of waste materials.

The Company is also planning to establish four Common Facility Training Centres (CFTCs) to facilitate Small-to-Medium Enterprise’s with latest processing machinery on rental basis, which are otherwise are not available to individual entrepreneurs.

The sources said development work on two CFTCs is in progress at Gaddani and Risalpur. After the establishment of CFTC’s, quality and production capacity of processing industry will increase manifold.

With regard to foreign loans/grants received by government for the said sector during the last ten years, the sources said USAID under a project named “FATA Livelihood Development Programme (FDP-LD)” provided machinery worth Rs. 300 million for development of marble and granite in FATA.

The grant was provided to the FATA Secretariat in the shape of machinery. Machines so purchased were then handed over to Pakistan Stone Development Company by FATA Secretariat.

The USAID under “FDP-LD” also funded Rs. 4.50 million for training of quarry workers in FATA. Under the project 30 trainees were provided training on use of latest quarrying technology and techniques by the Pakistan Stone Development Company.

Moreover, UASID under “Jobs Project” funded Rs. 9 million for training of quarry workers of KPK. Under the project 180 trainees were provided training on use of latest quarrying technology and techniques. World Bank through Multi donor Trust Fund provided machinery worth Rs.400 million for development of Marble and Granite sector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2015.